Lean Biotech Startup Akadeum Life Sciences Closes $1M in Financing

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Akadeum’s groundbreaking BACS™ microbubble technology allows for fast, easy removal of target cells from biological samples.

Akadeum BACS cell separation technology

Time-lapsed photo of Akadeum's BACS™ microbubbles; elapsed time 7 minutes

By focusing on our customers’ needs rather than our own, we ensure we’re not wasting our time and resources developing a product that customers do not want.

From blood to food to medicine, cells are all around us. However, the current methods of separating those cells from their surroundings for research, diagnostics, and cell therapy—also known as cell sorting—can be time-consuming, costly, and damaging to the cells.

To address this, Ann Arbor-based startup Akadeum Life Sciences is developing a radically new product that uses BACS™ (buoyancy-activated cell sorting) to acquire target cells from biological samples by using tiny floating spheres called “microbubbles” and disposable microbubble collectors.

The microbubbles are introduced into biological samples and attach to target cells, such as T cells, B cells, or cancer cells. After just a few minutes, the microbubbles gently float the target cells to the top of the sample, allowing for their easy capture and removal.

In order to continue product development, as well as increase sales and marketing efforts, Akadeum has secured a total of $1 million in investment. Investment in this round of financing was led by Michigan eLab and also includes Detroit Innovate, Invest Michigan, University of Michigan MINTS, and Jeffrey Schox, a nationally renowned patent attorney. Series A financing is planned for 2016.

As a lean biotech startup, Akadeum credits its initial success to the fact that it has iteratively built its products to meet the needs of its users. As part of its Application Discovery Program, Akadeum works directly with customers to develop products that address their specific problems.

“What truly excited us at Michigan eLab was not only the disruptive nature Akadeum’s BACS™ microbubble solution has on the market, but the intense customer focus the founding team had, including embracing lean startup methodologies typically found in software companies,” said Doug Neal, Managing Director of Michigan eLab and Akadeum Board Member. “Not many biotech startups have active customers just 18 months after company formation. We are excited about the opportunity for Akadeum to rapidly grow."

The company’s approach to lean methodology ensures that its products solve customers’ problems and incorporate features they want most. “Actively listening to your customers is vital to the successful development of products that seek rapid adoption,” said Brandon McNaughton, CEO of Akadeum Life Sciences. “By focusing on our customers’ needs rather than our own, we ensure we’re not wasting our time and resources developing a product that customers do not want.”

Akadeum’s Chief Technology Officer, John Younger, further elaborated, stating, “Rapidly refining product design based on customer response has greatly accelerated our understanding of the technology’s strengths and near-term applications. And professionally, I’ve never experienced anything comparable to the tempo of this approach; as customers continue to provide feedback, we continue to improve our product development.”

As part of their continued growth, Akadeum has added two key team members. Principal Scientist Leo Ostruszka joins Akadeum from BD Biosciences, where he led software development and integration of the BD FACSVia™. Leo joined BD as part of a $205 million acquisition of Ann Arbor-based Accuri Cytometers in 2011, where he was the scientific lead for development, testing, and launch of the Accuri™ C6 flow cytometer.

Brian Kierce also joins the Akadeum team as Director of Sales. Previously a district sales manager for Miltenyi Biotec, Kierce brings over 10 years of experience in sales and marketing of magnetic bead-based cell-sorting technology.

To learn more about Akadeum Life Sciences, including information on how to join Akadeum’s Application Discovery Program, visit http://www.akadeum.com.

About Akadeum Life Sciences, Inc.
Akadeum Life Sciences, a lean biotech startup, is located in Ann Arbor, MI. Founded in 2014, Akadeum was established to fundamentally change the way that isolating cells and other biological targets is approached.

Akadeum’s approach and strategies are unusual among the life science industry in that lean methodology is implemented. Inquiries into Akadeum’s methodologies, BACS™ microbubble technology, and Application Discovery Program can be found at http://www.akadeum.com.

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Brandon McNaughton
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